Marriage counseling, how it can help and why you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.

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Marriage counseling, how it can help and why you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.

Marriage is a beautiful institution and should ideally be based on love, respect and mutual understanding. However, the divorce rate is rising worldwide and couples often reach the conclusion that they have grown apart and therefore decide to separate. Successful marriages are a result of the continual support partners offer each other as they go through their own developmental processes. Spouses do not always grow at the same pace or follow the exact same path which makes them feel that they have grown apart.

However, counseling can help you realize that if they support and encourage their spouses while they are on a different developmental path, their paths will merge again. Couples find it difficult to be patient and understanding when their spouse is at a different developmental stage or when his/her pace is slower or faster than their own. Finding love and appreciation for your partner during these challenging moments will be fruitful and save the marriage/relationship.

Additionally, the increased levels of freedom on a societal and individual level along with sexual liberation has facilitated and normalized the divorce process. I believe that couples give up on their marital relationships earlier than they should as the promise of a better future with another partner seems more attractive than working through their differences. It is a common occurrence to divorce due to relationship incompatibility and face the exact same problems in the second marriage or committed relationship. This phenomenon is a result of the transference of the unresolved emotional issues from the first marriage to the next relationship/marriage.

In cases of sexual, emotional or physical abuse in marriages/relationships the victim’s partner may be unwilling to resolve their conflictual relationship due to strong feelings of resentment, anger or fear of being unsafe. Yet, even in such cases, counseling can prove to dissolve people’s anger and address the underlying issues that give rise to the abusive behaviour.

In my career I have helped numerous couples who felt that their only option was to get a divorce, rebuilt their relationship and create a strong emotional bond. If they had taken the easier and faster path of a divorce without understanding their own emotional dysfunction and the roots of their behaviour not only would that have divorced but they would have reenactment the same dysfunction in their next relationship. In some cases, the differences in opinions and emotional needs cannot be reconciled. Yet, counseling can free the spouses from the emotional pain as well as bring the deeper underlying issues to the surface. This process will help the couple to get an amicable divorce and protect their children from possible animosity. Each partner will be in a position to accept responsibility for their share of the dysfunction in the relationship and decide to work on his/her issues on a personal level.

It is important for partners to realise that the roots of their dysfunctional or conflictual behaviour is in their early childhood years. We learn about the world, how to behave; perceive ourselves and even how to speak through mimicking our parents. Hence, we learn how to operate in a marital relationship via observing our parental models and recreating the same scenario many years later. Due to the large time gap, we don’t make the connection between the parental marital model and our demeanor in our marriage. Yet, the two are very closely linked. The same way we learn how to talk and eat or walk by observing and copying our parents, we copy their behaviour as spouses when we find ourselves in the same role in our adult lives. In counseling, we bring the past to the present and draw parallels between the parental marital model and the current marriage/relationship. Clients often have an epiphany the moment the connection is made between the childhood experiences and the present marital problems that helps them shift their attitude and thought patterns. Additionally, I help my clients identify other sources of hurt or inferiority complexes that were established during early childhood either in school or other social settings and could be contributing to their relationship issues.

Marital counseling benefits all individuals and couples as it can release emotional pressure, identify the roots of the problematic behaviour and establish more helpful behavioural patterns. Furthermore, counseling can put an end to the perpetual blaming that conflictual couples engage in by explaining that the spouses are in reality victims of their parental marital models. The goal is to empower individuals to change their lives and feel in control of their emotions and actions.

Finally, I would like to invite you to discard the shame that people frequently experience when contemplating engaging in the counseling process. Counseling is designed for all individuals and is a far better alternative to living with depression, anxiety or resorting to getting a divorce. Counseling (not just marital) should be offered for free or heavily subsidised by all governments across the globe since this would result in a decreased rate of divorce, mental disorders and familial dysfunction, unfortunately we are not in such a society just yet.

By |June 10th, 2016|Family, Marriage, Marriage Counseling|0 Comments

© Maria Micha. All Rights Reserved. All articles and content belong to Maria Micha and may not be reproduced or used without express permission.

About the Author:

Becoming a psychotherapist was a decision I made early on in life during my late childhood years. It was almost as if I did not have a choice. My true interest in the emotional wellbeing of the people in my environment and my motivation to assist them find solutions to significant life issues, combined with the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction when people found inner peace, made my studies in psychology a necessity.

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